Students’ Perception on the Use of Google+ in Improving Communication Skill

Running Head: Using Google+ 1 IIUM Students’ Perception on the Use of Google+ in Improving Communication Skill Siti Natrah Bt Bactiar (0918444) Kulliyyah of Human Science (Communications) International Islamic University Malaysia Instructor: Mdm Norazah Md. Idrus English for Academic Writing Section 14 6th December 2012 Using Google+ 2 Abstract

For this study, its purpose is to examine whether social networking site such as Google+ can really be used effectively by students in improving their communication skill by employing quantitative research where a sample of 25 respondents consisting of undergraduate IIUM students from the main Gombak campus for survey were used where respondents were given questionnaires which were distributed through email and Facebook.

The questionnaires were done in order to answer two research questions in terms of what benefits can students gain from using Google+ as a way to improve communication skills and how can IIUM implement Google+ as a way for students to improve their communication skills and results from the study found that majority agreed that Google+ can help improved students’ communication skills and that they are positive that IIUM will implement this method by introducing Google+ as part of learning material, similar with e-learning.

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Using Google+ 3 IIUM Students’ Perception on the Use of Google+ in Improving Communication Skill After the introduction of Internet in 1960’s (Brown, 2008, p. 30), the world saw a transformation in how societies interact with each other and with the birth of Facebook in 2006 (pp. 32), it has changed how people in the 21st century would communicate with each other as more and more people are communicating and developing their relationship online.

Majority of youths today spend their time communicating with their friends in social networking sites (SNS) as compared to other online communication tools such as emails, discussion forum and chat rooms as it enables the users to gain instant feedback with its realtime message capabilities and a higher respond rates, allowing them to improve their communication between each other (Goddard & Geesin, 2011, p. 51).

Even though most youths especially students nowadays are communicating online with their friends and families daily through various channels of communication such as personal computers, laptops, Smart phones, mobile phones and so on, it does not indicate that their communication skills are improving. Instead, many of them showed a lack of confidence and persuasiveness during class presentation and in public speaking as most shows signs of nervousness and lack of understanding and knowledge about their topic especially when they have to present it in front of their class.

Moreover, some of them displayed poor team-player image by not participating actively in group discussion and freeriding other group members in doing their assignment. For this research, the purpose of this study is to examine whether social networking site such as Google+ can really be used effectively by students in improving their communication skill. Thus, two objectives are generated from this, which are to examine how students devote their skills, time and willingness in using their social networking site Using Google+ 4 Google+) in improving their communication skills especially in a team or group based discussion in order to prepare them for the working world and to examine factors affecting their use, which leads to the development of two research questions (RQ): 1. What benefits can students gain from using Google+ as a way to improve communication skills? 2. How can IIUM implement Google+ as a way for students to improve their communication skills? According to Watson, Besmer and Lipford (2012), Google+ is a social networking site, similar to Facebook, MySpace and Twitter with an added feature for group-based sharing facilities (+Circles).

Social Networking Sites (SNS) helps users to create an online profile that can be viewed by the public which allows interactive communication between the user and his or her circle of friends. As mentioned by Boyd and Ellison (2007) (as cited in Greenhow & Robelia, 2009): An online social network site (SNS) is a web-based service that allows individuals to (1) construct a public or semipublic profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system (p. ). Meanwhile, communication is defined as the means of sending or receiving information, such as telephone lines or computers (Oxford English Dictionary, 2007). However, in mass communication studies, Communication refers to your ability to share beliefs, values, ideas and feelings where it is seen as a dynamic process in which people attempt to share their internal states with other people through the use of symbols (Samovar, Porter, & McDaniel, 2010, pp. 14, 21).

Thus, an effective communication consists of the ability to convey a message that is understood by the audience verbally and non-verbally such Using Google+ 5 as through gestures, facial expressions and postures and that which requires a two-way communication. As more and more youths are connected to their digital devices, their network relationships have also expanded from offline or face to face relationship to online relationship. Thus, many researches have been done to study on the usage and impact of social networking sites (SNS) on users’ social development.

In addition, with the majority of social networking sites’ (e. g. Facebook ) users are adolescents and young adults who are still in high school and college, studies have found that social networking sites can influence the academic and social development of the students (Naeema, 2011; Ahn, 2011; Golder, Wilkinson, & Huberman, n. d. ). Moreover, Lampe, Ellison, and Steinfeld (2007) and Subrahmanyam and Greenfield (2008) mentioned that”…emerging adults’ use of the internet is predominately social in nature, typically with people known from offline contexts. , as cited in (Reich, Espinoza, & Subrahmanyam, 2012, p. 364). However, the studies done tend to focus on the usage of Facebook and its implication on the general academic and social development of the users. There was little studies conducted on Google+ (Watson, Besmer, & Lipford, 2012), an emerging social networking site that was introduced by Google in mid 2011 (Pascopella, 2011) which provides a more comprehensive features that are unique from Facebook such as +Circles that lets the user to share information that can only be known by selected group of friends.

With Google+, students can gain considerable benefits as compared to Facebook with its features that can be used for group or team discussions. In addition with the lack of studies on the usage of Google+ by students, little research was done to explore on students usage and willingness in using social networking sites in improving communication skills. Using Google+ 6 Method

Participants For this study, a sample of 25 respondents for survey were used which composed of undergraduate International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) students from the main Gombak campus who are currently taking courses offered in the Gombak campus such as IRK, HS, KAED, ENGIN, EDU, ICT, AIKOL and ENMS. The 25 respondents were selected from students in EAW class of section 14 and those who have answered the questionnaires which was posted through Facebook.

Materials Respondents were given questionnaires that were done through Google Drive (see Appendix 1) consisting of 12 questions that are divided into three sections with three compulsory questions on gender, Kuliyyah and level of study of the respondents while Section B consists of questions on having a social network account, frequency in updating their social network profile, user of Google+ and time spent connecting to social network site and Google+ which can help to answer the first objectives while for the third section (Section C) was used to answer the second objective and two research questions, one question using eight-element questionnaire using Likert-like scale was used and three other questions on reason for using Google+ and how IIUM can implement Google+ into their system.

Procedures The questionnaire was distributed to the 20 respondents via email by providing them the link to access the questionnaire from Google Drive while the remaining five respondents were provided with the link to the questionnaire by posting the link on own Facebook profile. The purpose and objective of the research were stated clearly in the questionnaire for Using Google+ 7 respondents’ clarification and the questionnaire only took five minutes for respondents to complete. Data Analysis Descriptive statistics is used in analyzing the data and as the research instrument used in collecting the data was questionnaire, it will involved numbers making it easier for the data to be quantified.

In descriptive statistics, frequencies such as percentages and graphs such as bar chart will be used in describing the data as it will focused on the differences such as the highest and lowest amount which will help in examining the frequencies of usage in social networking sites especially Google+. Google Drive provided the service of analyzing the data and describing it through graphs. In addition to Google Drive, Microsoft Excel will also be used. Using Google+ 8 Results The questions from the questionnaire (See Appendix 1) are generated in order to answer two research questions for this study which are 1) What benefits can students gain from using Google+ as a way to improve communication skills? 2) How can IIUM implement Google+ as a way for students to improve their communication skills? nd from the data that have been collected, 15 respondents (60 percent) agree that Google+ can be beneficial to students especially in improving communication skills while only two respondents (8 percent) strongly agree that Google+ can help improve communication skill. On the other hand, there is a balance between the number of respondents who disagree that Google+ can be beneficial to students in improving their communication skills with four respondents (16 percent) expressed disagreement while another four respondents expressed strong disagreement, as illustrated in the figure below: Figure 1 taken from Microsoft Excel Using Google+ 9 Meanwhile, pertaining to the second research question (How can IIUM implement Google+ as a way for students to improve their communication skills? ), the question ‘If yes, how do you think it can be implemented? is used in order to identify how students perceives the method for implementation of Google+ by IIUM with answers provided for them to check (See Appendix) . The answers from the respondents are listed in the figure below:- Figure 2 taken from Microsoft Excel As respondents can tick more than one answer for this question, almost half of the respondents chose ‘introducing Google+ as part of learning material, similar with e-learning’ (48 percent) while ‘introduce more team-based learning or collaborative learning through using Google+’ came a close second with 26 percent. Meanwhile, with a minor difference of 3 percent is the answer ‘making it compulsory for students to open a Google+ account’ (23 percent).

In contrast, ‘other’ only constitutes of 3 percent or only checked by one respondent who stated that there is no need to use Google+. Using Google+ 10 Thus, with the findings of the data collected from respondents are illustrated from the figures above, it shows how the findings have answered the two research questions for this study. For the rest of the answers from the respondents, it can be viewed from the summary of the responses (See Appendix 2). Discussion Based on the results from the survey, it can be deduced that a majority of respondents viewed Google+ positively as being beneficial to IIUM students in improving their communication skill, especially in a team or group based discussion.

This is also inline with the studies by Naeema (2011) where majority of Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) students that were asked, were willing to use social networking sites for better academic communication and learning with all agreed that social networking sites such as Facebook and other social networks are great form of communication that enable groups to meet and discuss matters (p. 99, 100). This shows that students in general are open to new way of learning, as evident in IIUM students’ willingness to use social networking sites such as Google+ in improving their communication skills. In addition, regarding on how IIUM can implement Google+ for students use in improving their communication skills, most respondents perceived that IIUM will introduce Google+ as part of learning material, akin to e-learning which can be advantageous to the student. Unlike -learning where communication mainly occur between the instructor or lecturer with their student (owner of the account) only, Google+ can offer a wide communication between the lecturer and the rest of his or her students and also students with their fellow classmates as long as they have a Google+ account. This is also similar to naeema’s (2011, p. 101) viewpoint where according to her, ‘by integrating social network Using Google+ 11 technologies into the learning environments, students will learn from each other, explore regulations from experiences where students at advanced levels can help beginners’. Similarities between methodology used and the topic of research played a role in the outcome of this research.

Both researches used university students who are active users of social networking sites and both employed quantitative research especially survey using questionnaire in gathering their data. In addition, the topic of research are somewhat similar with each other with Naeema doing a study on social networking as a tool for extending academic learning and communication whereas for EAW research, it tackles on IIUM students’ perception on the use of Google+ in improving communication skill. Using Google+ 12 Conclusion In conclusion, Google+ can be used by IIUM students in improving their communication skill as majority of respondents agreed that Google+ can help improved their communication skill and their optimism in how IIUM can implement Google+ into their curriculum.

In addition, from the data collected, it has also fulfilled the objectives of this study as most of the respondents asked were active users of social networking sites and who mostly used these sites such as Google+ to keep in touch with friends and families and also for academic communication. Through this, the purpose of study which is to examine whether social networking site such as Google+ can really be used effectively by students in improving their communication skill, have been answered. Moreover, through this research, it can aid researchers who want to study on the usage and impact of social networking sites especially Google+ on the development of academic communication among university students in Malaysia as few researches has been done on Google+ and its perceived usefulness in improving communication skills of students especially in Malaysia .

In addition, it can help IIUM on ways to expand the learning environment by tackling on new ways that can aid the learning process by integrating education and social networking sites and widen their perspectives on social networking sites being not just to establish and strengthen social relationship only but it can also help students in academic development which results in an interactive and fun way of learning between the lecturer and students. As the study was done through using limited number of respondents in terms of sample used and the method for data collection, the study may not have a high reliability and it may not reflect the perceptions and views of all university and college students in Malaysia. Using Google+ 13

Thus, due to this limitation, this research can be improved in the future by changing the methods that have been used by this research such as increasing the number of respondents, changing the sample population by choosing students from all universities and colleges in Malaysia or changing the type of research by using qualitative research such as in-depth interview or focus group instead. Thus, by changing the methods used it can lead to a different results of the study. In addition, by changing the purpose and objective of the study it can also direct the researcher to collecting different data and findings, for example, instead of looking at how Google+ can be used for academic development, the researcher can try to study on the impact of Google+ on the academic achievement. Using Google+ 14 References Ahn, J. (2011).

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London: Routledge. Golder, S. , Wilkinson, D. , & Huberman, B. (n. d. ). Rhythms of social interaction: messaging within a massive online. Palo Alto: HP Labs. Greenhow, C. , & Robelia, B. (2009). Old Communication, New Literacies: Social Network Sites as Social Learning Resources. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 14, 1130–1161. doi:10. 1111/j. 1083-6101. 2009. 01484. x Naeema, H. J. (2011). Social Networking as a Tool for Extending Academic Learnning and Communication. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 2(12), 93-102. Oxford English Dictionary. (2007). e-kamus 5. 02 Professional Edition. Alaf Teras. Pascopella, A. (2011, October).

Will Google+ Be the Answer for Safe Social Networking? District Administration, p. 1. Using Google+ 15 Reich, S. M. , Espinoza, G. , & Subrahmanyam, K. (2012). Friending, IMing, and Hanging out Face-to-Face: Overlap in Adolescents’ Online and Offline Social Networks. Developmental Psychology, 48(2), 356-368. doi:10. 1037/a0026980 Samovar, L. A. , Porter, R. E. , & McDaniel, E. R. (2010). Communication Between Cultures (7th ed. ). Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning. Watson, J. , Besmer, A. , & Lipford, H. R. (2012). +Your Circles: Sharing Behavior on Google+. Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security (SOUPS), (pp. 1-10). Washington. Using Google+ 16 Appendix 1 Using Google+ 17 Appendix 2

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